The 7 Best Books of December

Ema the Captive, César Aira, translated by Chris Andrews (New Directions)
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Ema the Captive, César Aira, translated by Chris Andrews (New Directions)

Argentine writer Aira is so prolific he makes Joyce Carol Oates look like a slacker, but not all of his wildly original books have been translated into English. His latest to be published in the U.S. is a short novel about a young woman in 19th-century Argentina who is kidnapped by soldiers and forced to be a concubine.